The restaurant is pretty big. This particular building used to be an Italian restaurant owned by the same local whose Mexican restaurant recently went under. :'-( I'd never been to that restaurant so I don't know how it was set up; however, I LOVE the ambience they've created in Salsa Leedos Mexican Grill. Other large restaurants I've been in that don't have walls built up everywhere become very loud when the restaurant is busy. This drives me nuts! I don't want to feel like I'm having my meal during a clown party. This restaurant has lots of walls and nooks built in, breaking up areas for privacy. The extra walls everywhere really help reduce the noise level during the lunch rush. Matt and I were seated in a back area where there were only two other tables nearby. It was wonderful! The other thing I noticed are the awesome colors on the walls. Being a Mexican restaurant, they have a lot of bright colors that look good together! Something else I noticed is they have a large party table.
Now for the menu. A friend of mine warned me that their food used to be amazing, but the last couples times they've eaten here is was just okay. With a coupon in hand, I was still willing to give it a try. For Matt, the Carne Esada (if the restaurant makes it at all) is the tell for how good the restaurant is. For me, it's the fajitas. If the fajitas aren't great, it's just an okay restaurant at best. So...Matt order his usual Carne Esada burrito and I ordered the mixed fajita platter with beef and chicken. First thing I noticed is their prices are higher than most other Mexican restaurants. Quite frankly, that sucks. Apparently there's a price for the ambience. The other thing I noticed right away was that the service was awesome. Diana was our server and she did a great job to check on us regularly, but not be there too much or too little. Woohoo! As it turned out, we ordered our drinks and our meals at the same time, since we knew what we wanted.
Just like all other Mexican restaurants, we were provided with freshly made chips and salsa. They were good, but not great. As we were running low, our server Diana, offered us more, so we asked for pico de gallo instead of the regular salsa. We were quite surprised to find the pico de gallo was very large chunks. I love chunky salsa, but this was a bit over the top in my opinion. Maybe somebody was trying to save time. Who knows? We decided to mix the salsa with the pico de gallo and it was pretty darn good; however, there was occasionally an extra spicy bite since the chunks of jalapeno were bigger than I would have liked.
Our meals came basically right after our chips were gone. I could hear my fajitas coming! I love how they sizzle! My hot platter was clear full and my plate of extras was huge! It felt like my food took up half the table. I told Matt, "Next time we can share an order of fajitas." Normally I use the plate and mix everything up into a big fajita salad and not even use the tortillas. Yes, already know I'm weird. But today I knew I couldn't eat nearly half of what they served me, so I decided to stick to the small tortillas. Everything looked so good!
Matt was taking his first bites while I was stacking my tortilla with food. He began singing his praises of the carne esada. Hurray! This was great news. Especially since the burrito was $11. Matt liked that the burrito was not full of beans and rice. It was meat, onions, green peppers, and cheese. About this time I finally started to eat my fajitas. First couple bites were okay, but nothing to write home about. There was a couple flavors I couldn't figure out that didn't taste right. I mentioned it to Matt and continued to eat. After my first tortilla I was full. Funny part is I'd only put a dent in my meal. When Matt finished his burrito I offered him some of mine and he tried it happily. His assessment was that they used curry on the meat. No wonder why I wasn't thrilled with it. I'm not a curry fan. He also mentioned that something tasted like pumpkin. That would be the zucchini and squash in the stir fry. Matt's comment was, "Indian food and Mexican food don't mix. You don't see Indians mixing curry with beef, Mexicans shouldn't, either." That pretty much sums it up. While the presentation was beautiful, I was disappointed in my fajitas.
Since the carne esada was a hit, I'm betting we'll return again for another date or two. Although I did not try it, the server said they do have fried ice cream, which is a favorite of mine! Next time we go, I'll have to try something else on the menu in hopes they don't use curry on everything. Matt rated his meal an 8 out of 10. I'd probably rate my meal a 3 out of 10.
In the meantime, what is your favorite restaurant? I miss my old favorite dive. *heavy sigh*